5. LET US PRAY WITH HIM Amor meus da mihi amorem… My Love, give me love
16 November 1844
PASTORAL YEAR 2008 ON-GOING FORMATION: INSTITUTE OF CHARITY SISTERS OF PROVIDENCE ROSMINIAN CONTACTS: -
don Giancarlo: email@example.com Sr. M. Antonietta: firstname.lastname@example.org
ROOTED AND FOUNDED IN LOVE
MAY 2008 – no. 5
“Rooted and founded in love” (Eph 3;17). These are “cornerstone” words which are the doors of entry to the “Common Rules of the Institute”. A necessary condition to live in this religious family and the only objective to reach. From love to love. From the love which inserts us for the first time in God, in baptism, to the perfect fusion of love with him and his saints in heaven. For this, which is the last proposal for our reflection of our family journey this year, we select the substance of Rosmini’s sanctity which cannot be other than Love: the crucified Love in which the depth and the height of the vertical arm is added to the arm of the love for mankind which are the dimensions of the infinite.
1. ONLY YESTERDAY
1854, Stresa. By now famous, Rosmini heard his secretary, Francesco Paoli, speak about a poor old man, blind from birth, who used to serve his Mass. Originally from Magognino, a small place nearby, his condition had worsened, finally rendering him homeless and a beggar since the death of both his parents. Rosmini meets him and makes him an 2 7
“I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another” (Jn 13:34) “Come you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me to eat ... (Mt 25:34-35) “In short there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love!” (1 Cor 13:13)
offer which “the blind man from Magognino” accepts. The Rector of the novitiate, don Felice Scesa, sees him coming with a letter from Rosmini: “My dear
4. AND I?
This “blank space” is for you to note your reflections: either before the meeting or, if you have decided in the group, in the meeting itself.
brother in Christ, the bearer of this is a gift I send to you and to your novices. He is one of Christ’s poor, blind from birth, 70 years of age, rejected by the authorities of Stresa and with no where to go. You will welcome him therefore as a guest in the house, you will clean him, clothe him, nourish him, and supply all his needs, as representing the person of JESUS CHRIST. I desire that our novices look on him as a “domestic treasure”. I wish that this blind man should eat in our refectory with “our family”, dispensing on this occasion with the rule that strangers should not share at our “common table” ... ” (to don Felice Scesa, 22
May 1854). He was to live there for the rest of his life. (Pagani, p. 414) It was in 1854, the year in which Rosmini’s book on “Logic” was being printed. It was in the month of May, and the examination of his writings was soon to be completed. A year later he died. Rosmini never lost sight for the essential vision: JESUS CHRIST, love for him and for his poor. Also written in capitals were his many loving requests on behalf of the needs of others. He is blessed because he knew how to love.
Paolo Zamboni (+1895), who joined the Institute at the age of nineteen in 1844, was often heard to say: “For eleven years, more or less, I was close to Father Rosmini, and he loved me …” (Pagani).
Let us leave the last word in this short journey of reflection on the reasons for the beatification of Fr Founder to the Church itself, recalling some points in the homily of Card Saraiva Martins on 18 November 2007 at Novara. Re-tasting in the intimacy of our hearts the joy of that day so long awaited ... “ ... it is precisely for having had the strength to undertake this marvellous adventure of sanctity, in a sublime way, that the Church today is inscribing Antonio Rosmini in the register of the Blessed. His is a sanctity not just proclaimed but lived in all its fullness ... If the aim of the life of all Christians is the sole and infinite desire to please God, within that desire lies the choice of orientating all our thoughts and actions to the increase and the glory of the Church of Jesus Christ. This fixed and indissoluble gaze at Christ and at his Church demands an extremely strong vision of the latter, something that Rosmini had in the wake of many other Christian thinkers. The first of these was St Augustine ... 4
Rosmini founded the Institute of Charity (Rosminians) and the Sisters of Providence Rosminian for the exclusive service of this Church, which with Christ forms the “total Christ” (Christus totus). The sole end which Rosmini gave to these two Institutes is that which is the primary purpose of religious life itself: the tireless striving for one’s salvation and sanctity. Totally for the Church. This is an aspect which costs Rosmini dearly and which shines out in a highly significant and exemplary manner in his life; precisely his unshakable and tenacious love for the Church ... His religious sons and daughters, in their journey towards the sole aim of sanctity, should be open to whatever work of charity the Lord, acting mainly through the Pastors of the Church and the circumstances of times and places, would indicate to them: works of spiritual charity, that refer directly to the eternal salvation of persons (proclaiming the faith, administering the sacraments) works of intellectual charity that aim at liverating the mind from the darkness of ignorance and illuminating it with the light of truth works of temporal charity that are directed to bodily needs such as hunger and health ... Let us sing a hymn of gratitude from this Sacred Assembly to the Lord, who leads all things with his admirable Providence ... Amen”. 5